Friday’s House Subcommittee Report for the Year-End outlined a number of different ways that President Barack Obama had acted. Donald Trump’s administration impeded the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, risked millions of lives and wasted taxpayer money.

The 46-page documentContains some previously released information as well as brand new details. Taken as a whole, it makes abundantly clear how the Trump administration failed to move fast enough to combat the virus, sometimes in order to avoid “angering” the president, as hundreds of thousands of Americans became sick and died.

Continue reading for key insights.

Trump “weakened” CDC testing guidance to dodge the truth of how fast the virus was spreading ahead of the election.

According to the report, documents show that “Trump Administration officials allowed the pandemic response to take a ‘back-seat’ in the fall of 2020” as the nation was gearing up for the 2020 election.

The Trump White House “purposefully weakened the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) testing guidance to reduce the amount of testing being conducted and obscure how rapidly the virus was spreading across the country,” the report said.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the former White House coronavirus response coordinator, told the committee that in August 2020, administration officials changed guidance to say asymptomatic people did not need to be tested for COVID-19 ― contrary to the science. The CDC eventually restored the guidance the following month “over the objections of senior White House officials,” Birx said, according to the report.

Trump didn’t like the February 2020 public briefing by the CDC, so for three months the White House stopped the agency giving any other information.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, a former respiratory diseases official for the CDC, “accurately warned the public about the risks posed by the coronavirus” in a Feb. 25, 2020 briefing. Messonnier told the committee, however, that the briefing “angered” Trump, and said she received “upsetting” calls from former CDC Director Robert Redfield and former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar about it.

Another official told the committee that the CDC wanted to hold a briefing in April 2020 “that would have provided information on the state of the pandemic, a new CDC recommendation to wear cloth face coverings, and new evidence of pediatric cases and deaths from the coronavirus,” but the White House blocked their request.

The Reports previously indicated that CDC officials felt “muzzled” by the Trump administration.

One CDC official said he was “haunted” by how the Trump administration altered health guidance for religious services.

According to the report, Trump White House wanted guidance for faith communities that would allow congregations to meet face-to-face with little disruption.

Senior CDC official Dr. Jay Butler told the committee that the published version of the government’s guidance for faith communities in the early months of the pandemic “softened some very important public health recommendations,” including the suggestion to halt choir performances.

“Dr. Butler told the Select Subcommittee that ‘what had been done [by the Trump White House] was not good public health practice,‘” the report said, “and acknowledged that the concerns he had about Americans getting sick and potentially dying because they relied on this watered-down guidance ‘will haunt [him] for some time.’”

Birx refused to participate in a “herd immunity” roundtable discussion but didn’t want to upset the White House.

The committee released evidence that Birx and other medical advisers were alarmed by the Trump White House’s flirtation with a “herd immunity” strategy.

Scott Atlas (ex-Trump adviser) led a discussion group with fringe scientists on the topic in fall 2020. Birx told the committee that the administration was considering encouraging people to get the virus in order to develop antibodies ― an approach that “would have risked the loss of even more American lives unnecessarily,” the report said.

Birx declined to join. Birx refused to join. an email, she wrote: “I can’t be part of this with these people who believe in herd immunity … These are people who believe that all the curves are predetermined and mitigation is irrelevant ― they are a fringe group without grounding in epidemics, public health or on-the-ground common sense experience.”

But she offered to provide PR help: “I am happy to go out of town or whatever gives the WH cover,” Birx wrote in the email.

Other emails from the committee published concerns expressed by Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins and other members of the Committee regarding the herd immune strategy. Collins provided a link to the email in one of these emails. a Washington Post storyHe condemned the idea.

“My quotes are accurate, but will not be appreciated in the WH,” Collins wrote.

The Trump administration’s pandemic response was plagued by fraud and poor decision-making.

Every person who survived the U.S. pandemic remembers how critical supplies such as personal protective equipment and tests were scarce at the beginning. The committee concluded that the Trump administration’s “haphazard and ineffective” strategy “exposed taxpayers to risks of fraud by nefarious actors who sought to profit off of the crisis.”

The government’s emergency loan program for small businesses was also a target for fraudsters. According to the committee, 97% fraud cases related to small-business loan programs were filed within its first five month period. This suggests that Trump’s White House wasn’t doing enough to ensure fraud control.

In another case, the Trump administration awarded 95% of the funds from one program ― the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act loan program for businesses “critical to maintaining national security” ― to a single business. The report’s authors called the $700 million loan “deeply questionable,” as it went to a financially troubled trucking company. Another pandemic initiative, the Farmers-to-Families Food Box Program, “delivered windfall profits to unqualified food distributors who wasted taxpayer dollars,” the report said.


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